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The Numinosum Blog
These last days of December are when some people are not only trying to find that perfect last minute gift but also trying to finish watching their favorite classic holiday movies and TV shows. Are you really allowed to watch It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street anytime besides December? In this age of DVD, Blu-ray, and movies-on-demand, there was always something special about only being able to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and the many great Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass shows Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty the Snowman when they were shown on network TV in December. If you didn't see it then, sadly you had to wait until next year--and you made sure you did (remember there was also a time when you could eat only vegetables and fruits that were in-season (am I the only one or does 6 inches of snow on the ground and green beans and oranges in the fresh produce aisle doesn't seem to go together?); luckily for me, the one thing that is still seasonal is egg nog and another reason to look forward to this time of year!).
These past couple of weekends we have watched two films, along with some of the above, that have become favorite parts of our Christmastime movie traditions: Love Actually and Millions. Both are British films, from 2003 and 2004 respectively, and while neither are cinematic tour de forces, they are movies that are modest and lovely in their own rights, with charming performances and characters: from Love Actually, the scene with Emma Thompson, when she gets a present from her husband (Alan Rickman, he of another holiday classic, Die Hard) is both beautiful and heart wrenching--one feels the interior anguish of Emma's character as she grapples with multiple emotions, all done with no words, just her facial expressions and the words and music of Joni Mitchell's song "Both Sides Now" (and Wayne Shorter's plaintive and tasteful cooing on the soprano saxophone) the only sounds we hear in the scene; the Liam Neesom character, who at the start of the film is grieving the loss of his wife (watching it now, it is strangely prescient, with the tragic death of Natasha Richardson, Liam Nelson's real-life former wife, in March of this year); the sad call of duty in the life of the Laura Linney character; the joy of happiness that radiates from the character played by Martine McCutcheon, particularly at very the end, makes me smile every time; and the story of the romance of the Colin Firth character and the one played by the beautiful Portuguese singer Lúcia Moniz and from Millions: the little boy who sees and talks and interacts with saints, obscure and known, throughout the film; the scene when St. Joseph helps out during the Nativity play at school; the little boy giving money to Mormon missionaries and what they do with the money.
The full synopsis of both films can be found on-line including here and here but if you haven't seen either film, or even if you have, add them to your holiday lists of films to watch and they might become classics for you too.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 8:52 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.